Friday, September 25, 2009

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

I really enjoyed reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. Here is an interview with him about this book which I found interesting.

The most dramatic chapter was on the positive correlation between frequent airline crashes and a high power distance index,
    Hofstede’s Power distance Index measures the extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally. This represents inequality (more versus less), but defined from below, not from above. It suggests that a society’s level of inequality is endorsed by the followers as much as by the leaders.
Gladwell recounts the discovery that those countries with frequent airline crashes also had a high power distance index. If the co-pilot had too much deference for the pilot, or if the pilot used deference and mitigated speech when addressing the air traffic controllers, then a crash was much more likely to happen.

It was chilling to read the transcription of terminal conversations between pilot and co-pilot in which the co-pilot demonstrates respect and a submissive attitude to the pilot to the detriment of the safety of everyone on board.

Many airlines now teach assertiveness training and a standardized procedure for co-pilots to challenge the pilot if there is a safety concern. The co-pilot is to express concern with increased assertiveness three times and then take over the controls from the pilot in an emergency which the pilot is not responding to.

This kind of assertiveness training is badly needed for those caught up in biblical womanhood. It is amazing to see how the cultural presuppositions about role caused the death of so many people. The vast majority of plane crashes could have been avoided it someone had taken over controls at the right moment.

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